No fan of gambling
I would like to expand on the comments made by Katharine J. Stayduhar in a Nov. 26 letter on her lack of sympathy for the competition The Meadows Racetrack & Casino is experiencing.
To put it very bluntly, I have never been a fan of organized gambling as a means of raising public revenue to finance public entities, be it North Strabane Township, the Canon-McMillan School District or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Casinos produce absolutely nothing tangible, durable, saleable or exportable. But they do a fabulous job of pulling large sums of money from the households of many patrons who overindulge.
Furthermore, as I have followed the police reports in the Observer-Reporter, it seems that either the Pennsylvania State Police, or the North Strabane Township police are called much too frequently to make arrests for disorderly conduct by someone who lost his shirt at the tables, got drunk and became reckless and abusive. Then, there are gambling addicts. I know of an individual who must sell a new car in order to pay off an enormous debt from playing at the tables and slots.
Last, but not least, it has been reported frequently that banned patrons have been re-arrested for trespassing after they were ordered never to return to the casino’s property. Obviously, gambling in excess is a destructive addiction, so making the means to feed that addiction so readily available is the perfect formula for personal disaster.
What is equally disturbing is the justification for establishing casino gambling in the commonwealth was so smoothly sold to the public as an easy source of government funding. Oh, it’s true The Meadows Racetrack & Casino does share some portion of its total take, but as Stayduhar asks, where is the big tax relief we were told would be coming?
If there were too many steel mills, auto plants, product service centers, or other businesses within the region employing thousands of American workers, I’d say that was worthy of everyone’s attention. But too many casinos competing for the population’s “fun money” is of no concern of mine.
Remember this: That big, shiny, flashy, 365/24/7 gambling emporium on Racetrack Road was not built by the winners.